Sunday, June 01, 2008

"G" - It's the New "F"

I love how people just dismiss the whole notion of "government," turning it into a dirty word.

"Government schools"..."government health"...

Today on a local message board (heavily populated by law-enforcement folks) there was a post about a state-wide Criminal Injury Compensation Fund that is a resource of last resort for victims of crimes who cannot pay for medical care, funeral or burial costs or who are not covered by insurance. Ironically, about 20% of the recipients of the funds have criminal records - but the people who run the fund clarify that the cases in which funds are received are unrelated to the previous cases. So, if you are a convicted felon and have served out your sentence, and then, for example, five years later you are walking down the street and are struck by a hit and run driver and are destitute, you can apply for funds.

First, the local paper runs this silly article, where the facts are spelled out, but the headline is written to make it sound to the casual reader as though convicts are standing with their arms extended through the bars, waiting for a handout. That is not the case at all, and the person who posted it knows that perfectly well ... but the next person, another LE dude, responds with:

Government at work.

Now, these people who claim to hate "government" so much, and bandy it about as though it were a 4-letter word, are they really thinking?

What do they want?

Do they want NO government?

These are law-enforcement officers, aka "public servants."

Would they prefer private militia? Vigilante groups?


I already know how they feel about the public schools. In this neck of the woods, about a quarter of school-age kids are either home schooled or go to private schools that the parents can't afford without taking out a second mortgage or getting a second job or being sponsored in some way.

Anyone whose home base is the North, the Northeast, or the West Coast can get an incredible eye-opening experience by observing the workings of education in the south. It's like no other place in this country. Education as it is is quite substandard in many places, wracked by continual conflict about whether or not to teach evolution. Wally attended a local public high school for a year. The 10 commandments were on the walls of many classrooms; preachers came in to give lectures, and one of his teachers routinely filled class time by showing videotapes of her preacher's sermons. My son complained to the principal after he left the area, knowing better than to rock the boat during the school year.

But back to this "government" thing. Yes, absolutely, there are a lot of problems with government programs, but this has not always been the case. People who grumble about FDR and the New Deal weren't even alive during his administration! They have had decades to reap the benefits, but then they stand back and dismiss "government" as though it were some sort of hippie fad! Public entities can be mismanaged just as much as private ones. A good program, whatever it may be, requires leadership and a dedication to serving the customer. To just say "Oh, government, phooey" does not address the problem.


PG said...

I'm impressed that Wally knew to complain about this being a problem -- when I went to high school in East Texas, it didn't even occur to me to complain about stuff like having the National Honor Society initiation in a church, presided over by a pastor, and including prayers. I was irked that my biology teacher (in what was supposed to be an advanced placement class!) wouldn't teach evolution, but more because I was worried that it would be covered on the exam than because of the infusion of religiosity in the public school.

Volly said...

You sound like a normal kid who was more into having fun than changing the world. And it sounds like you escaped from East Texas - congratulations!